The Women’s Motorcyclist Foundation, Inc., hosted its first event in 1984. Billed as the Women’s Motorcycle Festival, the venue was designed to provide a multi-day, economically feasible, fun-filled learning environment. It was like going to summer camp where the adults who had never lost touch with the kids that still resided within them.
All manner of hands-on mechanical workshops, riding skills clinics, self-guided routes and group rides were made available to provide female riders with the tools needed to pursue their own two-wheeled adventures.
One favorite group ride was to an outdoor Splat Ball Park, where the Orange Team competed against the Yellow Team. For years, WMF received post cards stating, “Orange Rules” or “Yellow Kicked Butt!”
Another popular ride was the Ice-Cream run which always involved a unique destination!
The workshops had proved to the attendees that basic daily maintenance was just a matter of following the steps in correct order. So often you would find attendees taking care of their bikes in the parking lot, usually with support from a friend or staff member.
The riding circus was another hit. Riders competed in events such as the Zorro Plank Ride wherein one had to ride a narrow set of planks in the pattern of a Z. Points were tallied for all competitions and the top point getter received the largest of trophies.
This first gathering, held at a kid’s summer camp, Camp Whitman, on the shores of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, led to the hosting of five more Women’s Motorcycle Festivals, produced biennially by WMF, Inc.
Each subsequent event raised the bar for the next. Participation and programming opportunities outgrew Camp Whitman sending it to Camp Lakeland located in the foothills of the Alleghany Mountains near Ellicottville, NY. From there the Festival moved to Wells College, Aurora, NY and finally to the Radisson Inn, adjacent to Rochester Institute of Technology.